Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away. (Luke 8:18 ESV)
I have a tendency to zone out because my mind gets preoccupied with other thoughts. It can be embarrassing and perceived as rude because my inattentiveness gives off the impression that I don’t care about what is being discussed. Distractions are too numerous nowadays with cell phones and tablets sounding off alerts when we receive messages. It’s hard not to look at them while we are in the middle of a conversation. I have to remember to silence my devices and put them down to prevent an interruption. This way, I can truly be present and hear what is being said. Social interactions are to be valued and not treated as inconveniences. Yet, today we see more faces eyeballing screens instead of each other. How often are we actively listening?
The concept of active listening can also be applies to prayer and sermons because these activities are interactions with God. I often have to prepare myself by placing my worries aside so I can tune into the whispers of Holy Spirit. When we yell, we are usually trying to communicate with someone from a distance. And when we whisper, we lower our voices because we are very close to someone and do not want to ruin his ear drum.
Are we positioning ourselves from afar, or are we pressing in to be closer to God? Are we focused, or are we distracted? Jesus tells us that we will learn more from him and receive greater understanding if we actively listen. To do that, we must have the right heart and right attitude. Otherwise, we’ll become spiritually dead because the word of God is prevented from taking root in our hearts. So my challenge today is to find ways to silence my mind and heart, to seek the Lord in prayer and in my activities. I want to be spiritually present and ready to hear his gentle whispers.